4 Connected Car sensors that are secretly improving road safety.

4 Connected Car sensors that are secretly improving road safety.

Introduction

Sensors are everywhere. From your phone, in buildings, to your refrigerator, you can find them in almost every aspect of your life. They're also becoming increasingly common in cars, providing drivers and city planners with new insights and data about the road and the surrounding environment. In fact, many connected cars are equipped with a variety of active safety features that help improve road safety for drivers and roadside users —but these aren't always advertised or obvious. Here are four car sensors that can potentially save lives:

Swerving and braking sensors

One study found that swerving and braking are key factors contributing to the severity of an accident. Connected Car insights have also identified that there is potential to use swerving and braking data to as a leading indicator for car crashes, including monitoring and improving road safety at train level crossings. Measuring the severity of these incidents and determining whether they are appropriate levels based on the traffic context.

By monitoring braking and swerving behaviours and identifying patterns, sensor outputs can help to identify near-miss zones—areas where crashes are likely to occur in the future—and proactively improve road user safety.

Parking cameras

Parking cameras, also known as rearview or reversing cameras, are a great example of how technology can help enhance safety. They give drivers a relatively unobstructed view of what’s behind them. This allows them to see whether or not there are pedestrians, other vehicles, or objects behind a vehicle—a potentially life-saving feature. In newer cars, drivers have access to a 360-degree aerial view of the vehicle to assist with parking and reversing.

Example of 360-degree car cameras

As with most other car sensors, parking cameras work quite simply: they use infrared lights and sensors to detect objects within range and display their presence on the dashboard screen. It's likely that your new vehicle might come equipped with one by default; many manufacturers now include these features as standard safety equipment on all new vehicles.

LiDAR

LiDAR stands for Light Detection and Ranging. It is a type of sensor that uses lasers to measure the distance from objects. It's used in connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) to help them navigate the road, and detect objects up to 200 meters away.

LiDAR also has other potential uses, such as detecting pedestrians and cyclists on the road. This technology could help prevent collisions with vulnerable road users, which have become an increasing concern for drivers, politicians, and transport professionals alike.

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)

AEB is an active safety feature that uses radar or camera-based sensors to judge speeds between vehicles ahead and will automatically halt or slow the vehicle if it detects an object is in close range and/or if there is no human feedback from the driver. There are five categories:

  1. Low or city speed - detects vehicles in front of you to prevent minor accidents
  2. High or freeway speed - scans further ahead to mitigate the risk of high-speed collisions
  3. Pedestrian braking - preventing collisions with roadside users
  4. Reverse AEB - used for parking assist at low speeds
  5. Junction AED - detecting vehicles entering from the side

Sensors can help drivers and city planners make better decisions, and improve road safety for everyone.

What if there were a way to make such accidents less likely? Sensors can contribute to improving visibility for drivers and providing additional data for traffic and transport professionals to help design safer roads and infrastructure.

The more we learn about the different ways sensors have been implemented in cars, the more excited we get about the future of driving, improved road safety, and making our roads safer for everyone.

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